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The effect of blood flow occlusion during acute low-intensity isometric elbow flexion exercise

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European Journal of Applied Physiology



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PurposeBlood flow restriction (BFR) with low-intensity (<30% of 1 repetition maximum strength) muscle contraction has been used chronically (>4weeks) to enhance resistance training. However, mechanisms underlying muscle adaptations following BFR are not well understood. To explore changes related to chronic BFR adaptations, the current study used blood flow occlusion (BFO) during an acute bout of low-intensity isometric fatiguing contractions to assess peripheral (muscle) factors affected.MethodsTen males completed separate fatiguing elbow flexor protocols to failure; one with BFO and one with un-restricted blood flow (FF). Baseline, post-task failure, and 30min of recovery measures of voluntary and involuntary contractile properties were compared.ResultsBFO had greater impairment of intrinsic measures compared with FF, despite FF lasting 80% longer. Following task failure, maximal voluntary contraction and 50Hz torque decreased in both protocols (similar to 60% from baseline). Voluntary activation decreased similar to 11% from baseline at failure following both protocols, but recovered at a faster rate following BFO, whereas MVC recovered to similar to 90% of baseline in both protocols. The 10/50Hz torque ratio was decreased by similar to 68% and similar to 21% from baseline, for BFO and FF, respectively (P<0.01). 50Hz half-relaxation-time (HRT) was significantly longer immediately following BFO (similar to 107% greater than baseline), with no change following FF.ConclusionsThus, greater peripheral fatigue that recovers at a similar rate compared to conventional exercise is likely driving muscle adaptations observed with chronic BFR exercise. Likely BFO alters energy demand and supply of working muscle similar to chronic BFR, but is exaggerated in this paradigm.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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